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Sterilizing does seen as positive alternative to LI deer cull

Village believes it can sterilize virtually every doe within 5-square miles in just one month.
Village believes it can sterilize virtually every doe within 5-square miles in just one month.
Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images

Although the Village of East Hampton had originally signed up to take part in the Long Island Farm Bureau’s program to use federal sharpshooters to cull approximately 3,000 deer on the Eat End of Long Island this past winter and spring, the municipality has done an about face and is now looking into sterilizing does as a no-kill option in face of lawsuits and organized protests by opponents of the cull, which has currently been halted.

The town is now in negotiations with White Buffalo Inc. a non-profit group in Connecticut to perform the spaying operations, which they say can be completed in just 10-12 minutes per doe, making it possible to sterilize between 15-20 animals per night. According to White Buffalo president Tony DeNicola, “it is possible that a team consisting of a veterinarian and 4 scientists to capture and remove the ovaries of virtually every doe within the 5-square mile village within one month, without many outside deer moving into the area.”

White Buffalo was responsible for sterilizing 137 does in Cayuga Heights, a small village in upstate New York in 2012, in just two weeks time. They have since returned to that area to spay 12 more.

The sterilized does on Long Island would then be tagged to alert hunters so they would only concentrate on animals still able to reproduce. New York State allows bowhunters to take deer in the area each October thru December.

“We see this program as a middle ground that could satisfy both animal advocates and those living in the area who complain that the deer hurt farms by devouring crops, as well as local gardeners and those who worry that the animals spread tick-borne illnesses such as lyme disease, not to mention causing auto accidents,” stated Kathleen Cunningham, executive director of the Village Preservation Society.

So far East Hampton’s board has allocated $30,000 toward the program, but Cunningham says they need to raise another $100,000 through public and private donations (hopefully) by the end of this summer.

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